We belong to a dinner club with four other couples – all neighbors and good friends. Once a year we are each responsible for hosting the dinner in our home. The host couple provides the main dish, usually one side dish, and drinks. The other couples bring the rest of the meal, from appetizers to dessert.
Last Saturday night was our turn to host. Because we’re all so busy running to our kids’ spring sports activities at this time of year, we decided weeks ago on a casual menu: burgers, chicken, and Italian sausages on the grill. Who knew when the day actually arrived that there would be snow on the ground?
I always enjoy the opportunity to set a pretty table and I try to do something a little different each time. This night I wanted the table to have the same, informal feel as the menu. Even though we only host dinner club once a year and I like to make it special, I try not to break the budget doing it. Here were my choices this time around:
For the table setting itself, I used dishes and silverware that I already owned. I borrowed glasses with a fleur de lis design and gingham napkins from my mother. The other linens I purchased new from Tuesday Morning, but I opted for placemats with a fun, ric rac border that I could use for everyday over a tablecloth that would go in my buffet until another dinner party.
I found some napkin rings that I loved at Bed Bath & Beyond, but they were $2.99/each and I wasn’t willing to add another $30 in expenses. Instead, I folded the napkins following directions I found at this website and I loved the result. I think I’ll often choose to fold napkins in creative ways, which is not only free but eliminates the need to invest in and store napkin rings in different designs.
In the “don’t sweat the small stuff” department, only eight of my dinner and salad plates were in the matching yellow, since that is all I have. The other two were white plates from another set. I considered purchasing some additional pieces of my stoneware or borrowing some yellow dishes in another pattern from a friend, but once the entire table was set – especially with the matching place mats and napkins – it was hardly noticable to me. Same with the chairs…five matched our dining room set and five were from the kitchen.
Finally, for the centerpiece I chose planted flowers over cut flowers so I could put them to use when the party was over. I bought a large pot of tulips at Costco and another pot of gerber daisies at my grocery store. I re-planted them in terracotta pots that I already had and put them in this Southern Living at Home container. After I’ve enjoyed the flowers inside for a few days and allowed the weather to warm up a bit, I’ll plant the tulips outside and put the daisies in a pot for summer.
Find more great tablescapes every Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.